New York Jets fans enter the 2012 season mentally preoccupied by the barrage of questions racking their brains. How well will Tony Sparano's new offense move the football? Will the combination of Austin Howard and Jason Smith plug the hole in the team's offensive line? Is Antonio Cromartie really one of the best receivers on the roster?
There is one debate, however, that should be put to rest: As fans, should we embrace Tim Tebow as a Jet?
The answer is a resounding yes.
I’m going to say this up front; I don’t care about his passing abilities. I look at Tim Tebow the same way Rex Ryan and the Jets coaching staff view him—a football player, not bound to any position or the title that comes with it. He is a gamer, a baller, a playmaker and a shot-caller.
His skill set is similar to Brad Smith’s, the Missouri quarterback turned wide receiver, who ran the Jets Wildcat and starred on special teams. Were he not labeled a “quarterback” on the depth chart, Tebow’s arrival to New York would have been praised as Smith-reincarnate.
Much like Smith, Tebow’s versatility enables the Jets to save roster space. Having one player that can be a team’s backup quarterback and play both sides of the ball on special teams is a rarity, and allows the Jets the luxury of keeping a few fringe players they might otherwise have to cut.
Looking at the actual on-field implications of Tebow being on the Jets, it’s hard to know exactly how big his impact will be at this point. The Jets intentionally displayed a very “vanilla” offensive look throughout the preseason to keep their secret weapon just that, a secret.
Even if his contribution is minimal, let’s say hypothetically the Jets rarely use the option and it has limited effectiveness, for the majority of this season Tebow’s presence would be another variable opponents have to consider. In their preparation leading up to matchups, other teams will have to waste valuable time diagramming defenses to counter the mobile quarterback. As a punt protector on special teams, Tebow’s dynamic potentiality makes him yet another threat to be accounted for.
First dating all the way back to the time the Jets acquired Tebow, the trade seemed like a no-brainer. In exchange for the controversial quarterback, the Jets sent fourth and sixth-round picks to Denver. For those two picks, the Jets received an offensive playmaker coming off a season with a 7-4 record as a starter and a 12/6 TD/INT ratio.
The likelihood that either of those picks would have yielded a player as talented as Tebow is slim. The Jets have done well selecting role players in these rounds in the past, like finds Josh Bush in 2012, Bilal Powell in 2011 and Joe McKnight in 2010, but the prize of a player that is at worst a solid backup quarterback far exceeds the value of those potential players in this past year’s draft.
For the longest time I was not a fan of Tim Tebow. I discussed my changed attitude on him this past year here.
I am still, by no means part of his legions of fans, but I probably see Tebow in a more favorable light than most other members of gang green nation. At bare minimum, he is a hardworking individual and positive influence in the locker room. Isn’t that all you can ask for in a special teams player or backup quarterback?